Orlenz' Moretti - All Points Bulletin

Orlenz' Moretti

Five generations ago, Orlenz' Moretti's great great-grandfather walked down the gangplank of a steam ship and stood on the jetty of the San Paro waterfront, just another poor paisan immigrant who'd followed the tides of prosperity to find a new life in a new continent. He didn't find it, ending his days working as a dockhand among the dockside wharfs, sometimes supplanting his meagre income by taking part in illegal bare-knuckles prize fights in order to feed his family.

His son, Orlenz's great-grandfather, fared a little better, moving further inland to Midtown to join the mass of immigrant poor now congregating in ghetto areas there. This generation had learned the lesson from watching the sufferings of their parents; San Paro's prosperity was not to be theirs. They spoke the wrong language and worshipped the wrong god, and the locals didn't want them here. If they were to get any part of the wealth all around them, they would have to take it, rather than wait for it to be shared with them. They banded together for self-protection, some of them remembering and forming around something that many others had hoped they had left behind forever back in the Old Country.

Crime was Orlenz's great-grandfather's means to prosperity, but it was his son - Orlenz's grandfather - who was the real founder of the Moretti family fortune. One of the original ganglords of San Paro, he ended his days ensconced in the new family mansion in The Concession, aping the wealth and manners of the San Paro moneyed class who he claimed to despise so much. The next generation of the Moretti family - Orlenz's father - broke with family tradition and went into business, telling the old man that in the modern world, you can steal more with a handshake and a business diploma that you can with a gun, and all of it legitimately. The son knew that his father and the other old men would soon be dinosaurs, sitting there in their garish mansions and refusing to acknowledge that crime in San Paro was changing, that the new generations of criminals coming up through the ranks laughed at them and their ludicrous codes of honour and exaggerated Old Country manners. The son got out while he could, thriving in legitimate business, even if the basis of that business was built on laundered money belonging to his father and a syndicate of his father's friends. He moved out to Prentiss in the Waterfront district, ironically bringing full-circle the journey begun more than a century earlier with his great-grandfather.

Prentiss is where Orlenz' Moretti grew up, its quiet streets, well-tended lawns and gated community peace and quiet only a mile or so as the crow flies - but a world away in terms of time and social movement - from that squalid dockside where Moretti Senior first arrived in San Paro. Like everyone else in Prentiss, Orlenz' knows they've got a good thing going on here, and good things have to be cared for and protected. The city's falling apart. Walk a couple of blocks from the tree-lined lanes of Prentiss and into Fortuna Village, and you can see the damage for yourself. How long before it starts to reach into Prentiss, into the homes the people there have worked so hard to build and protect? Sure, they've got private security patrolling the streets, but how much can you trust some rentacop earning something not much more than minimum wage to stick around when the bullets start flying?

No, you want a job done; you got to do it yourself. That's what Orlenz' - star quarterback at the private school most families in Prentiss send their kids to, the guy with the hottest prom date, and always the host of the best kegger - thought, and there were plenty in his circle willing to go along with him. Like every good quarterback, Orlenz' thought in terms of offence, not defence, so the strategy's been to take the fight out into the Waterfront, confronting the likes of the Blood Roses on their own turf, before the battle gets brought to Prentiss. And that's how the Prentiss Tigers were born.

Orlenz's life might be a world away from that the first Moretti, but there's plenty of the old family bare-knuckles prize fighter spirit in him. The difference is, while those earlier Morettis were have-nots, fighting to get their foot in the door, Orlenz' and his friends very much belong among the haves of San Paro, and are fighting to keep the have-nots firmly in their place. If Orlenz' - extremely proud of his family's streetfighter roots - is aware of the inconsistency, he never mentions it.

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